Michael Clarke heaps praise on BCCI and CA for quickly resolving DRS row

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Michael Clarke heaps praise on BCCI and CA for quickly resolving DRS row

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SportsCafe Desk

03/15/2017

Michael Clarke has heaped praise on the BCCI and CA for quickly resolving the DRS row. However, Clarke felt that the infamous ‘Monkeygate’ incident had dragged on for far too long. Clarke was speaking at the launch of his autobiography and also praised Virat Kohli’s leadership qualities.

The truce on the DRS row was reached last Thursday with the BCCI withdrawing the official complaint with the International Cricket Council against Australia skipper Steve Smith for attempting to seek advice from the dressing room on a review during the second Test in Bengaluru.

Comparing ‘Monkeygate’ which involved Andrew Symonds and Harbhajan Singh to the DRS incident, former skipper Clarke said, “ "I would be very honest about where I saw the situation at SCG at that time. I was very close to Andrew Symonds. I asked him whether he was racially vilified. It was not only about the racial vilification of Andrew. It should have ended right there, continuing with the spirit of the game.

"Look at the Steve Smith incident, it's the right way. They have handled it really well. We know we are in for great Test series. We focus on the next match. (It) does not matter how hard you are on the field or who you play against, you should hold the highest respect for each other."

Harbhajan was charged with racial abuse and initially handed a three-match ban which was later reduced, although the respective boards continued to be locked in the aftermath of India’s 122-run defeat in that match.

"They come out in Ranchi, that was very smart. They might have sat somewhere in CCI and taken a decision to not take it any further," Clarke said.

The launch of Clarke's autobiography 'My Story' took place at Boria Majumdar's sports museum 'Fanattic'. Sharing his thoughts on the ongoing series, Clarke said, “It's fantastic to watch the series as a commentator, as a lover of the game. It will be no different in Ranchi and Dharamsala. We wanted to be competitive. The decision was the right one for the game of cricket."

Smith left India fuming when he looked towards the dressing room for advice on whether to take a DRS review or not and Kohli made his displeasure known during the post-match conference, stopping short of calling Smith a cheat.

Clarke said although he has made mistakes in his career, he would never cheat. “"In the same series (2007-8), when I was batting I edged a Kumble wrong'un at the slip. But I didn't walk blatantly. I should have walked. That was one of the mistakes I made," Clarke revealed.

Clarke justified his actions by saying that it was out of pure love for his country. "I loved to represent my country so much. I really wanted to perform. I didn't want to go and was so disappointed. I've made plenty of mistakes in my career. But I always believe I played the game with right spirit, with utmost importance to represent my country, my franchise. I would never try and cheat. I don't think it's fair to look back on one, two three individual incidents in my career but I have played the sport with utmost dignity and held respect for my country.”

Clarke also heaped praise on Kohli by saying that he had a winning mentality which was also found in Australian captains. "As a captain of Australia, you take forward the legacy of every leader the country leaves. There's a standard to take on that job, no matter what team you captain. India is no different to Australia. They want their team to win. Virat knows that and he has his own style. We had one common role. They loved winning. That's exactly what Kohli is doing, he's that love, passion and desire. I feel like Kohli has the aggression. He takes risk to win a game at any cost. I think that's a wonderful quality to have."

On an emotional note, Clarke also remembered the late Phil Hughes and Kohli’s gesture of coming for Hughes’ funeral, along with his teammates during the 2014-15 series. "The way Virat handled that situation... he came for the funeral. I've utmost respect for that. That period is a lot bigger than the game of cricket. India could have said no but they did not. I will always remember that.

"I still have his (Phil Hughes') mobile number in my phone. It's still hard to fathom that he's no longer there with us.”

Former India captain Sourav Ganguly was also present at the event and assured that the  ‘Monkeygate’ incident does not feature in the book. "I can guarantee you the Monkeygate will not have its true picture in the book. Because only a Sardarjji would know what another Sardar was saying. You may call it Monkeygate, Hanumangate or whatever gate. I was standing next to Harbhajan Singh when he was saying those words. I know exactly what he meant. Nevertheless, the incident was a bit more than just the word Monkeygate."

Clarke also donated his World Cup-winning jersey to the museum and Ganguly took the opportunity to take a photo with it saying that it was not a happy feeling. "It was not the best shirt I was holding. I know it's a terrific reward as a cricketer, captain and the youngsters of Australia. But this is the same jersey that thrashed us in 2003 and 2015 World Cups (in the semi-finals and finals respectively)”.

Finally, a lot has already been said about the pitches in the ongoing India-Australia Test series and Ganguly took the time to comment on the issue. "The tracks could have been a lot better in Bengaluru. But when you come to India, you expect such pitches. Australia have done remarkably well. You expect the ball to turn. The two Aussie spinners have put enormous amount of pressure on Indian batsmen..

"Whatever the curator in Ranchi says, it would invariably turn. The series is open and wicket will turn. Whatever the pitch, whoever plays well will win. Criticize the pitch, yes, but the crux is you have to handle spin."

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